Here’s my horror story; it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I had a person Instant Book my place with a stolen Airbnb account. The account holder was in Belgium and this guy was from Canada where my property is. I texted her to see how things were going only to find out she had no idea who I was and that she definitely had not booked my place. I called Airbnb and explained the situation to them. They put me on hold for 45 minutes at 3:00 AM in the winter in Montreal, so I called the police. They never came so I grabbed a baseball bat and entered my property. There was no one to hit with the baseball bat. No one was there, and most of my electronics were gone. That is not why I’m mad; it’s because of the way Airbnb handled the situation from there. I spoke to at least ten customer service representatives. They were all very nice, but my situation never got dealt with. After months of calling the only thing I could do was file a dispute with the person whose account got hacked, which they told me they would deny. They said they aren’t responsible for any stolen items, and that they would help resolve the situation if the guest had stolen anything. They would never pay my losses with their money. Obviously I can’t go after the guest who had her account stolen. Now it’s obvious that I can’t reason with Airbnb.
I was staying in San Sebastián last August and left all my best dresses hanging in the wardrobe; I was pregnant and running for a 5:00 AM train. I contacted the host the same day and arranged for him to send all my things back to Sydney. He seemed agreeable at the time and then I never heard from him again. He refused to answer any phone calls or messages. I estimate my lost items cost almost $2000 in dresses, some with the price tags still attached. I have spoken to a half dozen Airbnb team members over the last six months who have dropped my claim without even contacting me. This is what I received from a staff member (please see image). I’m so shocked at the lack of professionalism and patronising tone of this email.
We rented our house to three people from the Airbnb website where we advertised our three bedroom, two bathroom vacation rental. They stole all of our furniture, washer, dryer, artwork, and dishes. We immediately contacted Airbnb, filed a police report, found our receipts and emailed them all to Airbnb. They have done nothing to take care of this. They have a million dollar insurance policy and we never received a dime from this theft. Their insurance guy won’t return our phone calls and so we lost $15,000 worth of furnishings and appliances and Airbnb has done nothing to help us. I guess if you are a thief, rent through Airbnb and steal from the house you are renting, as Airbnb won’t do anything to catch you or help the people from whom you stole. I hope all thieves read this, rip everyone else off, and then, maybe when no one advertises through Airbnb anymore, they will go out of business. I am now going to contact the insurance commission and file a complaint. I will also contact other hosts on Airbnb and let them know about this so they can decide if they dare to continue with Airbnb.
We accepted a reservation from a verified guest. The guest stole everything out of the house. I mean everything, down the broom next to the furnace. We did everything Airbnb required that we do: file a police report, make an Excel sheet of all the items taken, provide receipts for everything, and take before and after photos. It has now been a month and they continue to drag their feet. Hosts beware: Airbnb does NOT verify their guests. Get additional information from your guests: driver’s licenses, credit cards, photos of guests and vehicles. Meet every guest prior to their stay and check them out. Do not rent to anyone new to Airbnb and does not have exemplary reviews – no matter what. Believe me, the money isn’t worth it. Airbnb does not care about you, especially if you can’t make them any more money.
I wanted to share my story, and hopefully get some feedback. I do not want to be easily identifiable so I will not give detailed specifics. We are Superhosts. We rented our house to a guy that had a verified email, phone number, and an “offline ID.” This guy stole my identify along with a good chunk of money. The police report has been filed, there is a detective assigned to the case, and I’ve been working with Airbnb’s “safety and trust team.” They offered to pay us for Lifelock that we had put on our lives, and also for door locks that we replaced. When I asked about my security deposit, she without hesitation sent us the entire amount, without asking for proof of anything (making us think they know more than we do).
Long story short, this guy booked under a fake name, a fake profile photo (I reverse Google searched it), a drop phone number, and a fake brand new email. Shouldn’t Airbnb be held responsible? Don’t they have a due diligence to properly vet all guests that will be staying at hosts’ homes? Surely this guy’s name that he made up for the profile and the ID name and photo do not match, so do they really check these, or just act like they do since this person wants to book so they can make an extra buck, while neglecting their hosts? The detective is looking into video footage of confirmed activity on the money that was stolen from us, as this will be his best lead. They connected him to another theft of checks around the same area, that same night. So there are at least two incidents in one night, by this guy, under two different names, and the checks were made out to a different name as well.
We do not think Airbnb cares about their hosts as much as they claim, as none of this would have happened had they throughly vetted each guest’s profile. But they did not. They have offered to reimburse the money only if we owe it back, which does not make since. I have not responded to that offer, as I’m waiting on the detective to look at the video footage, so we can identify this guy, so this “guest” will eventually have charges pressed against him. Does anyone think we should go to the media, and make people aware? Does anyone think we should hire an attorney? Does anyone know of any good attorneys that have handled cases in which the host is the plaintiff, and Airbnb as the defendant?
I have been managing vacation rentals for over eight years. I’ve enjoyed welcoming people into my homes and take great pride in providing them with a clean, warm, and welcoming place to stay. I decided to try Airbnb in the hopes of increasing the number of rentals during my slow season (summers in Arizona don’t make it a wildly popular place to travel). My first guest booked a property for five nights. According to Airbnb, the payout for the reservation should have been in my account 24 hours after check-in. That did not happen. I went to my property after the guest checked out and was shocked and disturbed by what I walked into. My house was trashed and reeked of cigarette smoke, and I had been robbed. I called the police and followed up with a call to Airbnb.
I was told to use the Resolution Center to ask the guest that robbed me for the money to cover the cost of the items he stole. This didn’t really make much sense to me… but I did it. I was told he then had 72 hours to respond and if there had been no resolution Airbnb would get involved. Big surprise… the man that robbed me didn’t respond. That 72 hours passed a week ago. I have called and emailed Airbnb multiple times and received absolutely no explanation about what they are doing on their end to help resolve this matter. The customer service people just read from their script and tell me it’s being “investigated.”
Here’s the kicker: I never received payment from the reservation. The robbery and security deposit aside, I was never even paid by Airbnb for the five nights he stayed at my house. I’ve resorted to a negative post on their Facebook page to which they responded with a DM then on Twitter. Still there has been no response, explanation, or money in my account. I have been robbed by both the guest that stayed in my home and now by Airbnb. I feel totally violated and I can’t do a thing about it other than share my experience with as many people as possible in the hopes that no one else has to go through what I am going through.
I was trying to make a reservation for three nights at a location that would have cost me $35/night. I started working on this around August 26th. My ID couldn’t be verified as it wouldn’t link to my Facebook account, despite the fact that I’m very active on it. I have 339 friends which they said is enough (besides, I’m particular about who I allow to see my personal information). At first, despite it being super annoying, I tried to get my ID verified but I just couldn’t do it. The second I told them that I was done trying to get involved with their company, my ID was suddenly verified and I was told I should go back on Airbnb and make a reservation… which I did. BIG MISTAKE. They charged me $101 on September 2nd and then the next day sent me an email saying that my reservation was cancelled because I wasn’t verified. On September 5th, my money was refunded so I just thought I would leave it at that. They kept sending me emails saying that I needed to verify my ID, which I didn’t bother doing.
On September 8th, I went to go use my debit card and I was overdrawn! I checked my account and due to another $101 withdrawal Airbnb made, I was now overdrawn my 28 cents. I called Airbnb and they refused to connect me to a supervisor. I probably had to ask at least eight times. Then I spoke to a representative who accused me of lying and saying that they only charged me once. That’s right… the supervisor pretty much called me a liar. She said that she would email accounting but since then I haven’t heard from her. She was there on Friday and left without calling me back. Today one employee ended up hanging up on me, but not before refusing to let me talk to a supervisor. Then another at first told me the supervisor was busy, then said the supervisor wasn’t there, then when I asked him for the address so I could use it for my BBB complaint, he told me that I could look it up on the Internet and it wasn’t his job to give me that information. I think that in order to block them, I will have to cancel my debit card and maybe change my email address.
So, my story begins when I showed up to the door of what was supposed to be my Airbnb in Santiago, Chile. I called and emailed my host several times until I finally got a response. Her response was shocking to say the least. She told me she never accepted the booking and, in fact, she wasn’t even based in Santiago. Well, needless to say, I was pissed and panicked. I called Airbnb only to be put on hold for an inordinate amount of time. I was told that this was classified as an emergency and I would be contacted very shortly. Three weeks later… I still haven’t heard from them and I’m still being charged for the stay. That incident made me decide me to research my account. I saw a charge from Airbnb for $454. I never stayed anywhere that they would need to charge me for that amount. I called and told them so and, again, was told this would be an emergency response. That made me concerned, so I started digging through my bank statements to find that Airbnb has stolen $5500 out of my account over the past year. Now I can’t get anybody on the phone to talk to me about it. But, it’s good to know that it is a priority for them to get this resolved.
This is my story of hosting a Spanish woman; I offer tips on avoiding weird guests on Airbnb and alternatives to Airbnb:
1. Use Wimdu instead. It’s a German platform. I have switched to Wimdu and like it.
2. Don’ t ever assume Airbnb customer service will help. They are a bunch of useless employees.
Made no mistake, those two points are equally important.
3. Avoid taking bookings from this guest.
4. The guest asked to stay in my flat for a month. She told me she was visiting to improve her English, and used a picture of a lovely flower as her profile picture. I assumed (big mistake) that I was going to host a young, open minded student… never ever take bookings from people who are not verified and who hide their real photos using pictures of flowers, cats, dogs, etc. I did not know that I was going to host a narrow minded 70 year old from Spain who was expecting me to be her maid.
5. On the arrival day, I saw her: a 70-year-old lady who struggled to find my place, wearing heels, with her lovely toenails painted red. She was the kind of person who thinks “you are my maid because I am renting a room in your house.” She wanted me to take her to the shop (LIDL) to buy food. Because she was quite old I tried to be nice so I took her to LIDL in my car, she did her shopping, and she called me on the phone to pick her up when she was finished (like I was a taxi service)
6. The second day, she pushed us to have dinner together because she had to improve her English. I said, “Well, I am not starving; I will have dinner later.” She replied, “Okay, then I will wait and I will have dinner with you.”
7. On the third day, she woke up in the morning “fresh like a flower” after she had been snoring the whole night (I got no sleep…) and she asked me about breakfast. I simply said: “No, I’m not cooking breakfast for you.” I never offered breakfast in my listing; it was just the room with ensuite bathroom, fresh towels and linen, and free use of the kitchen.
8. Day 4: she realized she had no travel adapter. I told her that there is a shop close by that sells them, and she replied, “You have more than one so you have to give me one of yours.” I just said “No…”
9. Day 5: she started using the washing machines (I’m not talking about one but multiple washing machines and driers) at 7:00 AM… on a lovely Saturday morning… the fact that I was still in bed and the washing machine was bloody noisy did not even bother the “princess.”
10. Day 6: I went out, came back, and caught her hitting my poor kitty cat. Finally, this was too much. I called Airbnb, told them I wanted to her out of my flat. Airbnb contacted her, so the fresh flower came to me and said, “Okay, I can leave… but you have to find me some new accommodation.”
11. I gave her the phone number of a 4-star hotel where she could be treated like a real lady, a fresh flower. However, I doubt that even in a 4-star hotel someone would have given her a travel adapter.
12. Finally, when she checked out at 9:30 AM, I stopped her and asked for the keys. She replied: “I am going downstairs to the car and then I am coming back to get my second suitcase.” I waited and waited and waited…. but she did not come back. I called her and she hung up on me. I texted her and told her to come back, take her suitcase, and give me the keys. No reply. Basically, I had her suitcase and she had my keys. I didn’t know where she was, and she could enter my flat anytime she wanted. I contacted Airbnb immediately. They replied: “She can’t give you the keys because she is busy finding new accommodations.”
At 4:00 PM I went to a locksmith to change the locks at my flat (120 euros). I called Airbnb and they said the same thing again – “she is busy looking for a new place” – so I told them: “Okay, it seems that you are not helping at all. I do not know what’s in this suitcase so I am going to the police station to hand the suitcase to a police officer.” An Airbnb representative called me back after five minutes (the case manager of my original contact) and begged me not to involve the police. He asked me to go the the hotel where she was staying – I thought that she had been looking for accommodations…? – and to give her the suitcase. I told him to tell the fresh flower to go to the police station to collect her suitcase because I had no intention of going to her hotel. Finally at 5:00 PM I managed to get my keys back thanks to the police.
When the adventure with the fresh flower was finally over, I asked Airbnb for compensation because I had had to replace the locks in my flat. Obviously, there was no compensation and they have not paid me for the six nights the “fresh flower” stayed in my flat. I had never had a cancellation before and I won’t have cancellations again; I am not using Airbnb anymore.
Airbnb customer support is horrific. Every time I have sought help, I found no help whatsoever. I have been cut off, told investigations have been opened which resulted in negative reviews, and they do not consider them in violation of Airbnb guidelines. They treat their customers with disgust. I will not be making money for their company any longer. When I unlisted my account I was told to send an email which brought me to a support page that purposely deters people from actually contacting customer support or leaving feedback. The pretense that they are here to help is false, and obvious. They do little to nothing to help, let their agents give horrific advice and support, and let their customers take the fallout for it, all while taking their money.
Their business practices are shameful. I was told to open an investigation with my guests about stolen headphones, which resulted in a negative review (a direct response to the investigation I was directed to open by Airbnb’s support team). The evidence that the review is negative due to this is written in the review. I do not see why that is acceptable. If somebody steals my things and I have to look into it, they are apparently allowed to write that as a negative for their stay. It violates Airbnb’s policy but they have no issue with it. They are making me do this despite the fact the headphones were not in a common area, and should be covered by their host guarantee, which you can never seem to avail yourself of. It is a lie. I do not see why once an investigation is opened, a review can still be left reflecting that. The only reason is simple: they do not want hosts (or guests) to open investigations because it causes them more trouble. They want you to accept your losses as your own and not start an investigation. “Be a good little customer, and there will be no bad reviews and no trouble.” It is that simple.
They deter you from using customer support and their guarantee as much as they can. I was directed to open investigations by their support team regarding my stolen headphones because they stated it was necessary to do so to reclaim the loss. I have now done so, and received negative reviews as a result. This is a direct result of their support team’s advice, and they do not consider it an issue that this is easily possible for reviews to be left in the wake of open investigations that they told me to open. The review does not directly state the entire issue, but does most certainly make reference to it. As Airbnb policy states, a review is disallowed when there is “content that refers to an Airbnb investigation.” It most definitely does refer to it. It is not hidden. And it is through their support that this has occurred. Contact with Airbnb has been meaningless at best. They will not honor their guarantee and they will not honor their own policies when their policies support you. However, they will take 20% of the total booking income, and do their best to make it look like they don’t. I think they need to seriously rethink their policies and staff training.